Shaun Miller · February 18, 2014
A new year means a new budget, and a new budget means your tech team will be looking at projects they can accomplish. Maybe this is the year you’re upgrading an entire system, such as audio or lighting. I know for us, we’re looking at hanging a projector in our lobby for use as a video over flow venue. If you’re the decision maker for your church, I urge you to hear me out. Who am I? I’m the church tech guy tasked with making it happen and bringing it in under budget.
Production Equipment is expensive, there is no hiding that; it is the nature of the technological world we live in. Projectors, sound boards, and lighting all carry hefty price tags. This is especially true when you add the cliché “you get what you pay for,” which has bitten me many times trying to save a buck. Now just because one brand has found a way to produce a similar product for less does not make it junk - but sometimes it does. This is where your volunteers or staff on your tech team have to do their research and determine the best gear at the most effective price.
Our administrative pastor is the one who directly oversees church finances on a day to day basis. I am sure he is convinced that when I knock on his door it’s going to cost something. This is why I have begun a psychological conditioning program of stopping by without a request. That way he doesn’t associate my department solely with large dollar signs. When I do finally bring a request, he knows that I have done my due diligence in researching and finding the best prices for the equipment.
In order for us all to be efficient and successful, I have asked those in leadership to give me a budget for large projects. All-too-often, the senior pastor or someone else on staff will get an idea to do something larger-than-life. Because these projects involve so many variables, I like to find out what they are willing to spend before getting started on my research. You wouldn’t go looking for a car or a house before knowing what you could realistically spend. The same applies here.
Over my many years of working with and for churches, I have learned that nebulous budgets rarely work, and in the end waste everyone’s time. The technology spectrum is so large and diverse that it can leave your head spinning if there aren’t boundaries in place. I have given presented project proposals and watched as eyes bugged out. Yet, I also know there has to be some leeway to dream: to say, “What would it cost if…” Those times are great - but when it comes down to implementation, your tech guy needs the most concrete budget you can possibly give. This will help build that trust, and to know that they are making wise decisions.